The Newman Government has developed a clear direction to guide Queensland’s growing freight industry by increasing rail use and creating a more efficient road network.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the Moving Freight Strategy, endorsed by several peak industry organisations, identifies 38 actions to meet the freight demand over the next 10 years.
“Freight volumes in Queensland are expected to increase from 871 million tonnes in 2010-11 to 1643-1741 million tonnes by 2026,” Mr Emerson said.
“That will be the annual equivalent of 21.7 million more truck trips on our roads or 174,000 more freight train trips on our network.
“The previous government failed to plan for future growth, but we promised at the election to deliver better planning and infrastructure.
“If we don’t put a clear plan in place our network will grind to a halt, unable to cope with the increase in demand.
“Actions identified to get more freight on to rail and reduce road congestion include preserving train paths on regional rail lines for agricultural freight and undertaking a pre-feasibility study for a new rail freight terminal on the north side of Brisbane.
“Already we have announced up to $50 million on additional passing loops and $17 million to lower train tunnels enabling the agricultural industry to use larger containers through the Toowoomba Range and Lockyer Valley.
“We have also increased cattle services from Winton to Brisbane and Cloncurry to Brisbane.
“In order to better support the road freight network we are looking at reducing red tape for heavy freight vehicle permits and investigating upgrades to key freight routes on the Flinders/Barkly highways, Warrego Highway, Capricorn Highway and Peak Downs/Gregory highways.
“Queensland’s freight network is critical to our economy and plays a valuable part in each of the four pillars of tourism, agriculture, resources and construction, that we promised to grow.”
The primary freight network is made up of 13,600km of road, 9,550km of rail line, 15 trading ports, three international airports as well as multiple domestic airports and freight terminals.
Mr Emerson said the freight industry was fully supportive of the Moving Freight Strategy.
Neil Findlay from Queensland Transport and Logistics Council offered his support in a submission to the draft strategy, saying “The collaborative approach to developing Moving Freight between government and industry has enabled the identification of real freight issues and challenges.”
Another of the industry’s major bodies, AgForce Queensland said “This will ensure long term access for Agricultural freight on rail, the reduction of red tape and improvement of the road network.”
A copy of the Moving Freight strategy is available online at www.tmr.qld.gov.au/movingfreight